James Simms, Co-Director of The EverLearner and Creator of mypeexam.org
First published in August 2017 on mypeexam.org
Background: Although my day job is being an online PE teacher, teaching a cohort of 100k students on a daily basis, on the side, I am designing and creating an online educational service that, I believe, will disrupt the educational model used in all western societies. In this post, I would like to share with you my masterplan for this process. Keep it a secret!
As you know, the initial product of mypeexam.org (my original business) provided free online tuition for GCSE and A-level PE students via video tutorial. From their release in 2014, my videos built a viewership of over 100k regular users with a total lesson view of over 25 million. Since September 2015 the commercial structure of mypeexam.org has enabled me to build the resources to create a team of teachers and to commence plans for theeverlearner.com which will be released within six months of this post. My primary objective is to create a disruptive and revolutionary service that fundamentally challenges the dominant educational model in place right now. My objective is change and, in this post, I will detail how that change will occur in the coming years.
Critical to making this change occur is building an alternative classroom and educational model without compromises, which is why TEL has published Education Reimagined and why our team toured the UK in the summer of 2017 to demonstrate the fluency of this model. Our model now has a critical mass of teachers who firmly believe in what we are advocating. When I write “without compromises” I mean that this new model is significantly better than the current model in every relevant variable. The primary variables are students genuinely developing deep, intuitive learning and that performance indicators, such as exam results, always increase. It is also true to state that the core teacher experience is significantly more positive in our classroom. Education Reimagined is designed to outperform EVERY current educational model in existence on the planet.
So how do we get to the point of enabling every teacher to be able to use this model? Well, the answer is not straightforward. Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimised and this is no less true for the technology required to genuinely humanise all classrooms. The strategy of TEL is to enter the market with a small curriculum offer, where customers are prepared to pay a premium for a small subject range, and then build our wider curriculum as fast as possible so that we are able to educate higher volumes of users across a broader range of educational experiences and where prices per learner will be significantly lower.
Without giving away too much, I can say that TheEverLearner.com will directly enable the model advocated in Education Reimagined. The site will be a dynamic and beautiful environment for learners and teachers and, importantly, it will be hyperfast and hypersecure regardless of how many users access the platform. Furthermore, TheEverLearner.com will achieve the gold standard of what technology in education should achieve: it will humanise the learning cycle.
Now I’d like to address two repeated arguments against online learning via courses and websites: lack of completion rates and high costs. The answer to the first is short and simple. The second requires a bit of maths.
Students never complete online courses!
Mass, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs) do have low completion rates. In fact, many MOOCs experience completion of no more than 25% of learners that start the course. However, MOOCs are not what TEL is offering. We are offering an online solution that directly interacts with your classroom; a platform that literally changes what happens to every learner; an experience of fundamentally changing and improving the meaning of being a teacher.
MOOCs are analogous to sticking a student in a field with an iPad and hoping they learn. TheEverLearner.com combined with Education Reimagined is analogous to taking your learners to the greatest restaurant on earth, where diners enter the perfect eating (learning) environment and are served with the greatest service, ingredients and instruction available on the planet. There is just one simple difference: the student will be the one cooking the greatest meal ever tasted for themselves. Try to imagine a student in that environment. Try to imagine how quickly and efficiently they would learn and how their food would improve over time. Try to imagine how that experience and nutrition would affect the student – how they would change and grow. This is our aim for all of our learners.
Online learning is expensive!
A common rebuttal to online learning as a solution to educational development is cost. Until now, most online platforms have attempted to tweak the current model. No online platform has attempted to fundamentally challenge and replace the dominant learning paradigm. TEL will build a solution which does provide this challenge and the impact will not only be a great learning experience but, importantly, a reduction in per-head cost of the average classroom. The technology itself will be affordable because it will be used by all and will enable a broad range of educational experiences. Teachers and students will not need to use three or four different platforms but, rather, will simply use TEL for all their classroom needs. We actually anticipate that, within 3 years, classrooms using TEL and Education Reimagined will see their annual classroom costs reduce by over 25%. This equates to a saving of £35k per classroom per year for the average school. Our argument is that this money, in time, should be redirected to Master Teachers enabling the possibility of developing a career-long notion of being a classroom teacher in our society.
In the interim period, there will be a number of hybrid models developed in the educational system by individual teachers and it is our intention to observe and learn from these creations at every step of the way. Our model will continuously evolve and will always be open to improvements and new ideas.
TEL is doing everything possible to achieve its aims. We are prepared to stake everything on our beliefs and vision. We will never stop. We will never fail. Commercial failure is a possibility for any business but ideological and philosophical failure is not possible given our clarity of vision and ruthless willingness to adhere to our core philosophy. We know why we are doing what we are doing and this fact gives us great strength.
If you teach in a classroom, change is coming.
So, in short, the master plan is:
- Build a PE-related business and make money – achieved!
- Use that money to build a revolutionary and disruptive educational service – arrives early 2018.
- Use that money to broaden the curriculum offer via this service so that the model is relevant to all.
- While doing the above, retrain all teachers to the skills required in the Education Reimagined classroom.
Don’t tell anyone.
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash